y Grace Maselli
Here’s a reminder for you, dear reader, of our upcoming September 30 event: Magical potlucks galore! But this time, with a literary twist. Member guests and guests of members are invited to share one or two poems each in the safe space of a living room. Either something guests have penned in the dark of night or the bright light of day, or a recitation (from memory OR a sheet of paper), an homage, to their faves from the poetic pantheon. Think Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Dr. Suess and his perhaps lesser-known “Greatheart and the Brain Drain”. The Beats. To keep it synced, our shared potluck foods will follow a time-honored literary technique, alliteration, or “the conspicuous repetition of identical initial consonant sounds… ” You dig? That means our shared poetry foods may include potstickers, pierogies, pumpkin pie, pasta, parsnips, or a treasured family recipe from your Uncle Peter. Join us for the mini recital, fun, and foodery! Here’s the skinny: Time: Sunday, September 30, 3-6 PM ¦ Location: 2128 Park Crescent Drive, Land O Lakes, FL 34639 ¦ Questions: 215.834.4567 (Yes, it’s a local event despite the 215 prefix. 🙂 )
By Grace Maselli
Yes, you read it right. Booyah: “Used to express joy, especially over a well-played or victorious moment in sports.” When this humble blogger took a second to look up one of the kookiest words ever, it revealed itself as the first piece in a bread crumb trail leading to London and timebanking’s back story. It’s relevant to note that booyah is also a thick stew “of probable Belgian origin made throughout the Upper Midwestern United States,” and a stomach pleaser, arguably, depending on your dietary persuasion. Putting the two together, (1) booyah as exercise and, by extension, health, and (2) booyah as homemade food (ideally, nutritious food, maybe even made with organic, pasture-raised ingredients), the question the bread crumb trail leads to is, how might health and timebanks be connected?
The Doctor Is In
London’s Dr. Isabel Garcia’s work gives us a clue in a superb report from the New Economics Foundation (NEF), “Keeping the GP Away, an NEF Briefing about Community Time Banks and Health“. Notably, the NEF and the good doctor were way ahead of this September 2018 post, having penned the report 16 years earlier in February 2002. The New Economics Foundation and the concept of timebanking was developed far earlier still, in 1986, at the London School of Economics by Washington law professor Edgar Cahn, the report’s details reveal. The report also explains that timebanking, “works like a blood bank or babysitting club: ‘Help a neighbour and then, when you need it, a neighbour—most likely a different one—will help you.'”
The NEF’s and Dr. Garcia’s findings came from tracking people’s post-surgical health needs in “Rushey Green,” an electoral ward in the London Borough of Lewisham and set against the backdrop of England’s National Health Service.
Here’s an excerpt from the report’s conclusion:
1. The community time bank approach does help to engage patients as partners in the business of delivering health. It does this by helping to shift the focus from people’s problems to their abilities.
2. Time banks can lever hidden resources in the community. The Rushey Green model seems to be able to access people’s time and goodwill in such a way that they can provide a useful arm to the surgery.
3. Time banks allow health centres to supply a broader view of health. Time banks are not a stand-alone model, but a flexible approach that can be grafted onto existing activities.
4. Mutual support can make a difference to the way people experience the NHS. Mutual volunteering among patients through a time bank can benefit both the giver and the receiver.
To this conclusion, dear reader, let’s shout booyah in honor of every well-played and victorious moment in the sport of keeping people connected within their timebanking communities. And for the joy that comes with the collective health and well-being of as many as possible.
By Grace Maselli
Diane Sawyer’s TV piece on timebanking in her hometown of Louisville, KY was another B-12 shot to the movement’s arm. Resurrecting the 2014 exposé here, it details the experiences of Louisville, KY timebank members through timebanks.org. Peeps in the land of Kentucky Fried Chicken and the Derby continue to save hundreds of dollars by swapping skills and services including babysitting, family portrait photography, home improvement, chiropracty, and jewelry repair. “I feel wealthy since I’ve been in the timebank,” bubbles one interviewee in Sawyer’s piece. Bottom line, in Louisville and Tampa and places in between, if you have a skill, offer it up in your community by joining a timebank. You’ll save money and chances are strong you might find a few goombahs along the way.
By Grace Maselli
OK. Coming clean. When I happened upon this Girl Power maverick Amber Baldet, I thought, “How, how, how to make it relevant to our timebank?” Then, lickety-split, the synchronicities and story hooks
presented themselves like fireflies on a summer night. Amber Baldet, founder of “Clovyr,” is from Florida. A “blockchain” technology entrepreneur, Amber’s about challenging the status quo, changing it up, calling out hegemony where it lives on Wall Street or Main Street U.S.A. And that, dear reader (believes this humble blogger), is innately connected to timebank founder Edgar Cahn’s ethos when filtered through the prism of fact-based interpretation: leadership or dominance, especially by one country or social group over others, does NOT equate to equality of time exchange—one hour of tax preparation and its equivalency to one hour of de-pilling a worn but beloved sweater. OK.
So what the hecker, as my kids used to say when they were toddlers, is a blockchain? A blockchain is the technical mechanism used to de-centralize digital power within “platforms.” What’s a platform? Can you say Facebook? Or Twitter? (A digital “place” where stuff gets posted and people write messages to each other and send pix of their sandwiches and dogs.)
Better yet, let Amber Baldet explain it for you: “Our company, Clovyr, builds tools that help people create decentralized applications, or platforms that are not controlled by a single entity. For example, Twitter is a platform where many people can talk to each other, but Twitter as an organization has a lot of control over what gets read and who can have an account. Decentralized alternatives can provide the same functions but without the central intermediary. Pretty much all the applications we use today are centralized in some way—there’s somebody who runs the show. At Clovyr, we are experimenting with ways to build different types of business models that challenge that hegemony, and allow people to make better choices about how we engage with each other. It’s also about increasing agency and consent in how our data is used.”
Hold up! That’s big news.
And in my imaginary conversation with Edgar Cahn he says, “You betcha. Big news. But also familiar news, if you’re a veteran timebanker.” Why? “Because we’re all about making better choices as it regards how we engage with each other.” Then Edgar says, “Yes, the link between the egalitarian timebanking concept and blockchain’s aim is running in a parallel universe.” Afterall, TBT uses Facebook. Our members communicate via this blog; our exchange hours are logged digitally on this here platform. In other words, openness and more choice in the use of technology is good for us! Carry on, Amber Baldet.
By Grace Maselli
Our invaluable, smart, compassionate TBT Coordinator, Rita Cobbs, reminisced recently about her five-year history with our Tampa Bay organization. Timebanking made a difference both in her “regular” living, and the life-altering loss of her beloved husband during this time period. “Two different TBT friends on separate occasions drove me from Florida to Virginia to help sell my house there,” approximately 800 miles each way. “I think back to the days when I was looking after my husband and remember all the goodwill visits and friendship extended,” Rita says. Besides interstate driving, help was on the way in Tampa to repair Rita’s home when her husband was no longer able to participate. “A timebank member and her father installed some fencing and a fine, white gate to the back yard,” Rita says. Another member and his son cleared all the backyard brush and hauled everything away, too. Yet another member pressure washed the roof.
Gratitude for Support and Knowledge
But it didn’t end there. Creativity, joy, and connection have come from Rita’s interrelationships over time with TBT members. “I can look back on numerous people I hold close to my heart, to lots of fun, and to wonderful benefits. Some of those benefits involved enjoyment of classical music at the Florida Symphony Orchestra, trips to the movies and restaurants, and transportation to social events. And also assistance getting through medical surgeries,” Rita says. Art by way of Tampa’s Life Enrichment Center likewise figures largely: “I was encouraged to teach a watercolor class at the Life Enrichment Center,” one of TBT’s non-profit organizational members, “and I even taught a few classes at my home!”
Nonetheless, catch your breath here, dear reader—as there is still more to consider. Through TBT, Rita also had “direct experiences” with yoga classes, acupuncture, the healing arts, open space meetings, not to mention “creative people committed to healthful living, proper diet and permaculture, social consciousness and social justice. My life has been enriched.” Hallelujah! The additional good news is our Rita continues to be one of the guiding forces in the TBT movement.
By Grace Maselli
We’re at it again! Magical potlucks galore! But this time, with a literary twist. Member guests and guests of members are invited to share one or two poems each in the safe space of a living room. Either something guests have penned in the dark of night or the bright light of day, or a recitation (from memory OR a sheet of paper), an homage, to their faves from the poetic pantheon. Think Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Dr. Suess and his perhaps lesser-known “Greatheart and the Brain Drain”. The Beats. To keep it synced, our shared potluck foods will follow a time-honored literary technique, alliteration, or “the conspicuous repetition of identical initial consonant sounds… ” You dig? That means our shared poetry foods may include potstickers, pierogies, pumpkin pie, pasta, parsnips, or a treasured family recipe from your Uncle Peter. Join us for the mini recital, fun, and foodery! Here’s the skinny: Time: Sunday, September 30, 3-6 PM ¦ Location: 2128 Park Crescent Drive, Land O Lakes, FL 34639 ¦ Questions: 215.834.4567 (Yes, it’s a local event despite the 215 prefix. 🙂 )
By Grace Maselli
Big doings thanks to an art partnership in the local community. Beginning Tuesday, October 16 from 6:30-8:30 PM, TBT will meet every third Tuesday of the month at Tampa’s Life Enrichment Center (LEC), “a private, non-profit organization whose mission is for students to fulfill their lifelong creative potential through the ageless engagement of the arts.” Yay! LEC Executive Director Maureen Murphy heads LEC, a long-time TBT organizational member that, under Maureen’s direction, has generously opened its doors to us the third Tuesday of each month for social events, orientations and ever-wonderful community potlucks.
The venerable arts organization has been in the business of art since 1980—38 years large!
Also in their own words: “The LEC is an innovative arts education center for adults, operating in North Tampa’s Forest Hills neighborhood since 1980. It is one of only a few centers across the country focused on redefining and reshaping retirement and the experience of aging. Its cultural arts program has received national and international recognition and serves as a model of a successful community-based organization, serving adults primarily 50+.” There’s a bundle of classes offered—more than 25 to choose from every week that interested TBT members can avail themselves of. Double yay! Among the gems: creative writing, drawing, pastels, oil/acrylics, watercolor, bead weaving, Tai Chi, yoga, Mahjong, and bridge. LEC’s address is 9704 North Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33612; phone: 813.932.0241.
By Grace Maselli
There are times when the heat gets turned up in life. When the means required to do something practical all on your own, or to pay a high price tag for goods or services, can alarm even the least freak-out-able among us. Like the tree that falls on your front yard provoking the phrase, “I need someone with a chain saw” to become part of your sudden reality. This goes way beyond the philosophical notion embodied in the question, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” You definitely heard the dern thing topple!
But maybe it’s not about big-tree doings. Maybe it’s about some companionship and support for cleaning a messy house (think new baby and sleep-deprived parents, or a household with a gaggle full of toddlers running to and fro…) Maybe a member just needs a two-hour pinch hitter for childcare while she or he takes a powder and gets a cup a Jo—just the substitute “Nurturing Auntie” you hope for to stay sane. Remember, a pivotal part of the timebanking ethos is to understand the value of asking for help when it’s needed, because sometimes your real Auntie loves you, but she’s 1,000 miles away. According to timebank founder Edgar Cahn, strong communities engage citizens, strengthen place, and inspire change. So reach out and ask. Reach out and offer. As the lovely diagram in this post shows, members can get help with raking their yards; they can offer help with grocery shopping. Knit a sweater! (Hey, it can get nippy in the Sunshine State in winter months…) So check out the TBT website regularly, where our digital version of the “TimeDollar Statement” (aka, electronic tally) under the “Hours” drop down menu is housed. It’s like exercise or sleep: Timebanking makes you feel better!
By Grace Maselli
I know, I know. Can you believe another month’s gone by?! Come to our next TBT “First Monday” social. We’re going Italian on Labor Day, Monday, September 3 from 7-9 P.M. at Oggie’s, 214 East Bears Ave, Tampa, FL. 33613 It’s farm-to-table good! Throw in a cannoli and the question is, Does life get any better? Especially when the subject revolves around timebanking and connection with peeps.
By Grace Maselli
Yes sirree. There were 18 of us today and a LOT of food and bonhomie to go around. Member Andy LePage hosted at his place and made a fact sheet about timebanking, home-brewed decaf iced tea, and a turkey to boot. Some of his fact sheet’s highlights: What is a timebank and how does it work? It’s a community of members who exchange what they love to do with other TBT members, engaging their skills and abilities—and members who understand the value of asking for help when they need it. It’s a system where your hour is equal to every other person’s hour; the rich don’t get richer and the poor don’t get poorer! And it’s a community where we extend trust and reciprocity across social, economic, ethnic and linguistic lines, weaving community one hour at a time!
The event’s smorgasbord of foodstuff filled stomachs and set the stage for fun and dialogue—information-sharing about timebanking. Seems TBT may have sent off an auspicious satellite to the north, with the murmurings of a new timebank spearheaded by Andy in Spring Hill getting louder. Part of our dialogue also helped us get things rolling with a group icebreaker, where everyone shared from the following six quick writing prompts.”Tell Us”:
…something about yesterday
…something you do well
…something about your childhood
…something you learned last week
…something you can’t live without
…something you watch/listen to
The overall conversation about timebanking was also salted and peppered with meaningful commentary including, “We see human beings as assets,” and “Timebanking is a series of social acts of organized benevolence.” So put that bee in yer bonnet and join the community!